Monday, September 12, 2016
As I navigate the initial stages of self-acceptance, I’ve realized one important point:
I’ve never been kind to myself.
My self-talk has always been laced with guilt, doubt, and shame. Most of that is a consequence of taught behavior, unhealthy connections with negative people, and the insecurities set up by those who just couldn’t accept me for the way I am. That negative energy distanced me from self-acceptance. The insecurities becamem a normal process, something done automatically, but it is a creeping dysfunction that many of us deal with on an everyday basis.
Looking back at my life, I’m astonished just how unkind I’ve been to myself. A simple “I am not as pretty as her,” thought soon spirals into something greater: “If I were a better mother... I am not bright enough to do that... I feel so guilty for my mistakes.” Little by little those thoughts become the inner voice that rots our core. Self-esteem is clouded by the lies we tell about ourselves.
A huge unkindness to myself was the weight of guilt. For many years I struggled to forgive myself for ordinary mistakes. I let that weight crush me, and believed I didn’t deserve good things. We all wish we could change a few things we’ve done, but faltering doesn’t make us bad people. It’s shocking to think that I was so much quicker to forgive others than to forgive myself. Recently, I realized that the way I treat myself could be a powerful tool. It can destroy me or lift me up. Which use will I choose?
Through the guidance of someone close to me, I was finally able to seek self-acceptance. I regret wasting all those years with guilt and self-doubt. The first step was to understand there is absolutely nothing stopping me from forgiving myself. Self-forgiveness releases the heaviness of guilt. It means that you’re human and that you fall. That doesn’t mean you have to stay down. Giving yourself permission to fail and to learn is one of the biggest steps in healing.
Thoughts of kindness facilitate this process. Instead of thinking, “I am so stupid for doing that,” I turn it around to, “What I did is silly, but now I know better.” Or changing: “I ruin all of my relationships, no one can be around me,” to, “I will try to be more understanding and really connect with people.”
No, it won’t come easy at first. We’ve been wired to beat ourselves down. But keep doing it. Keep positive affirmations running through your brain, even when you don’t believe them initially. If you practice this everyday, you will begin to heal and to give yourself room to breathe. Once you forgive yourself and show self-kindness, you will see an improvement all around you.
Finding time just for yourself is another path to self kindness. Establish your own prayer corner, meditation spot, or go for a walk alone. Make it a priority to give yourself time alone each day. Deem it a drama-free zone, void of self-judgment. Invest in a quiet moment where you thank your body for supporting you through the day; your mind for keeping you sharp; your heart for letting you be human.
Self-acceptance is the foundation stone to achieving the best version of yourself. We’re only complete when we find kindness and virtue within ourselves. I believe that we need to be whole inwardly before we can pour out blessings outwardly.
Still feel lost? Mind Key offers a number of resources and services to help you discover the you that’s easy to love. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our discovery consults and receive a 50% off coupon when you mention my column: Caring for Me.
Caring for Me - Loving yourself with kindness, confidence and positive energy